NLEX to be on lockdown for leaders arriving for ASEAN Summit

MANILA, Philippines – The North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) lane from Clark in Pampanga to Metro Manila will be on "lockdown" for minutes every time a foreign leader arrives for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit on November 11 and 12.

This is because all 21 leaders attending the summit and related meetings will arrive at the Clark International Airport in Pampanga, and travel to Metro Manila where their hotels are located.

Every time a leader will travel by land from the Pampanga airport to Manila, the NLEX lane and toll gates will be closed to all other vehicles until the leader's convoy passes through.

National Capital Region Police Office Chief Oscar Albayalde explained this in a Palace news briefing on Thursday, October 26.

"They will travel to NLEX, from Clark to Manila so there will be a temporary lockdown when they travel," said Albayalde.

"The NLEX will be temporarily closed and after a few minutes when they get past NLEX, it will be opened right away," he added.

The 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, out of all the ASEAN events hosted by the Philippines this year, will be attended by the most number of foreign leaders.

A total of 21 heads of state or government are expected, plus United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Schedule of arrivals

The plan, so far, is to close the lane and toll gates 15 minutes before the leader's convoy leaves Clark airport. The NLEX lane and toll gates will only be opened 5 minutes after the leader leaves NLEX.

Leaders will arrive on November 11 (Saturday) and 12 (Friday), but mostly on the 11th. However, not all leaders are traveling by land.

United States President Donald Trump, for instance, may be traveling by air from Clark to Metro Manila, said Albayalde. He is arriving on November 12.

The leaders traveling by land will arrive at separate times, thus spacing the number of times NLEX will be on lockdown during those two days.

A similar lockdown schedule will be in place when the leaders depart after the ASEAN summit ends on November 14, said Albayalde.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority is set to release a traffic advisory on the NLEX lockdown. –

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at